Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, have joined the growing cry in Congress and beyond for an end of the forced separation of children from their parents at the southern U.S. border.
In statements issued on Father’s Day, June 17, Murkowski said “The time is now for the White House to end the cruel, tragic separations of families. They are not consistent with our values. The thousands of children taken from their parents and families must be reunited as quickly as possible and be treated humanely while immigration proceedings are pending.
“I am troubled that those seeking asylum are being turned away before they even have the opportunity to file their papers,” Murkowski said. “While I have said that this is a policy discussion that needs to be had, in my view we should not have a policy designed to separate families, particularly mothers with young children, without a clear process and focus on the needs of the children. To blame previous administrations for a wrong committed today is not acceptable.”
The senator said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen “should make the call today. If the administration does not fix this and fast, we in Congress must,” she said.
Young’s office said that he is sympathetic to the separation of families and remains committed to ensuring humane treatment of families that are in the process. Young also believes it is possible to implement successful border security and enforce our laws while keeping families together, his office said,
Attorney General Jeff Sessions this past week cited the Bible as justification for the Trump administration’s policy of forcibly separation children from parents when they crossed the border illegally.
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” Sessions said in a meeting in Fort Wayne, Indiana that was recorded by the Public Broadcasting System. (Watch online at https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/watch-live-attorney-general-jeff-sessions-talks-about-immigration).
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said she had not seen Sessions commenting on the matter, but that the Bible backed up the administration’s actions.
“I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law,” Sanders said. “That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible. It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law,” she said.
The Trump administration continues to blame the whole situation on the Democrats in Congress. Meanwhile First Lady Melania Trump and former First Lady Lauda Bush spoke out against the separation of children from their parents.
A spokesperson for Melania Trump released a statement on Father’s Day, saying “Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”
Laura Bush also issued a statement, saying that living in a border state she appreciates the need to enforce and protect the international boundaries, “but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
“Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the outskirts outside of El Paso,” Bush said. “These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma; interned Japanese have been two times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned.”